254 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP. of the Ustajlu tribe, but he was killed before his supporters could rally round him. Ultimately Ismail, the fourth son, who had been imprisoned by his father for twenty-five years, was placed on the throne. After establishing his power the new Shah, who was probably brutalized by his long imprisonment, put to death or blinded all the princes of the blood who were at Kazvin, to the number of eight, and also seventeen leading noble- men. Mohamed Mirza, known as Khudabanda, the eldest son of Tahmasp, being almost blind, was not re- garded as a candidate for the throne. He had, however, been ruling Khorasan, and being afterwards appointed to Pars, left an infant son, Abbas, as nominal Governor of Khorasan, under the guardianship of All Kuli Khan, Chief of the Shamlu. Ismail sent messengers with instructions to put to death both Khudabanda and the infant Abbas, but just before the cruel order was carried out news arrived of the decease of the monarch from drink and an overdose of opium. According to another account, he was assassinated by fifteen men disguised as women. Mohamed Khudabanda^ A.H. 985 (1578).—The death of Ismail not only saved Mohamed's life, but secured him the throne of Persia. But he proved unfit to cope with state affairs, and his authority was challenged before long by the Amirs of Khorasan, who proclaimed Abbas as Shah. During the civil war which ensued the weak monarch abandoned his Vizier, Mirza Sulayman, to the Kizilbash chiefs, who put him to death. After this his position was enfeebled by the impolitic execution of the Chief of the Takalu tribe, and when the Turks invaded Persia he was deserted by the great feudatories. The valour of Hamza Mirzay the heir-apparent, alone illumi- nated this dark period. His first exploit was the annihi- lation of the Turkish advance guard near Khoi. A second force of Turks was despatched to avenge this disaster, but they too were cut to pieces. In spite of these brilliant Persian successes, the invading army advanced on Tabriz, which was taken and sacked owing to the defection of the Kizilbash chiefs. But Hamza Mirza had still to be reckoned with, and in an attack which he made in A.H.